- Bryan W. Alaspa
WRITING TIPS: Using Twitter
There are a lot of writers out there and they have a lot of suggestions for marketing your work. The most popular thing I see advised to use for marketing your books is the use of an email newsletter. That direct marketing tool, they say, is like the Bible and indie writers left and right swear by it. When I ask them for advice and discuss what I've been using I find an interesting thin: a good percentage of these same writers have weak social media plans and very few of them know how to use Twitter.
I have a real problem with the email newsletter. Yeah, I have one, but I already hate it. I hate remembering to write the damn things. I hate promoting it. I hate worrying about if the giveaway is working and downloading. I hate trying to come up with topics when I have other things to worry about, plus the full time job.
To me, an email newsletter may work, but to me it still feels like I'm forcing myself on people. Sure, they voluntarily sign up for it, but I still feel like I am shoving ME down their throats. Here's this thing about ME! ME! ME! ME! There should be a monthly magazine about MEEEEE! It just seems - wrong.
As for me, I have been in the social media and online content business for 10 years now. I started writing website content with heavy SEO for website creators back in 2007. I jumped on the social media bandwagon when it was MySpace that everyone was using. I jumped on Facebook right away and then joined Twitter not long after. I admit, I let Twitter kind of sit there, like a lot of writer friends do, but that has changed.
So - What marketing platform do I recommend that indie writers use? Simple: TWITTER.
Rumors of Twitter's demise have been over-exaggerated. Yes, they have lost users in recent years. Yes, it is a little crowded and your feed can be overwhelming. However, if you concentrate and spend your time doing the right things, I have found Twitter to be the most effective marketing method out there. Of all of the platforms and social media tools I use, I have the most followers on Twitter. I reach the biggest audience there and I have experimented with it. I have done weeks with NO Twitter and found I get no pages read (so no KU downloads) and not sold a single book. The weeks I plan ahead and post every day, I get downloads, book sales and pages read.
OK, look, keep your Facebook page. I believe strongly in blogs (as you can see). Instagram works for a lot of folks. If you have a huge number of newsletter subscribers, keep going, but I find Twitter gets the biggest bang for the least amount of work and time investment.
Now, remember, I still work for a pest control company, am not a full-time author, often go days or weeks without pages read or sales, too. I am not saying this is the Golden Goose here, but it is a tool you should use and one I have found particularly effective.
How To Use Twitter
First off, do not be scared. Yeah, there are lot of people there, but create a profile, include information in it, get a profile photo and then start following people you like and writer friends or just friends. You have to follow certain people. Focus just on them. Stop getting lost in all of the noise. Focus!
Second, sign up for a free account at HootSuite. It is the platform I use and have used extensively for years. It allows you to plan and schedule tweets for an entire week. I do it every weekend. I plan at least three tweets a day at select times promoting something. That way, if I have a day where I am too busy to post new things, I know at least three posts will go live without me. HootSuite is easy to use and the free version will be fine for you.
Third, learn how to use it. You can post about the same thing and the best way to make sure someone sees what you are promoting is to post three times a day. Make sure you vary what you say (do NOT just repost the same sentence over and over again) and space it out about 8 hours between posts. Think about what most people are doing and when they are most likely to check their twitter feeds: early in the morning, between 11 am - 3 pm (lunch or when they get bored at work), and in the evening. Vary the times a bit and go.
Fourth, use hashtags. I use #amwriting in almost every scheduled post. Twitter user set up filters that seek out certain hashtags. Use the ones that will reach your intended audience. You can search for them, too, if you want. #indiewriters #writers #authors #writersoftwitter #horror, etc. etc. What do you write about? What is your intended audience? Use hashtags based on those answers and use them in ever post.
Fifth, get engaged and make sure that you are active. I keep Twitter open throughout the day and a few times, I got out to the feed and Re-Tweet things from the folks I follow. A Twitter feed CANNOT just be all about you. Promote your fellow indie writers. Repost about your favorite sports team. Post about what you like and get more followers.
Sixth, learn what you can. I have just under a 1,000 Twitter followers. I could have more if I downloaded software that is supposed to help you find quality followers. Me, I have never bothered, mostly because I don't have the time. I enjoy chatting with some select followers and Twitter friends. I have made some really good friends via Twitter. Stay engaged and DON'T BE AFRAID! Stop letting yourself get distracted and update and interact.
So, there you go. My advice on using Twitter. I swear to you, you will find it rewarding, interesting, entertaining and the biggest bang for the least amount of work. It's less skeevy than forcing a newsletter down people's throats and clogging their email and the loss of users has, in my opinion, just culled the Twitter field so only the folks that are dedicated to it are still there.
There's my writing/marketing tip folks. Get on there. My Twitter handle is @bryanalaspa. Look me up. Follow me and I'll try to follow back. And if you have questions about using Twitter - just ask.
Good luck! Have fun!
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